COSTA MESA, Calif.—If hotels really want to build loyalty and stand out to guests, they need to focus on the bed, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index. The study found that quality of sleep is one of the most important components of the guest experience with the potential to drive overall satisfaction and brand loyalty, but the majority of hotels are not delivering better-than-expected sleeping conditions.
“Delivering a superior sleep experience—from the quality of the bed, linens, and pillows to the ambient sound and temperature of the room—is a huge opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves from the pack and earn significant goodwill with guests,” said Jennifer Corwin, senior manager of consumer insights for travel and hospitality intelligence at J.D. Power. “Of all the discrete variables of the hotel guest experience we measure, a better-than-expected night’s sleep is the one with the potential to drive the highest levels of overall guest satisfaction for those hotels that can deliver.”
Now in its 23rd year, the North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study was redesigned this year to incorporate deeper guest profiling information and extended coverage of the full hotel customer journey, including the path to purchase, pre-stay communications, and post-stay communications. The study also now includes property-level information throughout North America, updated food and beverage metrics, and inclusion of vacation rental utilization metrics.
The 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding their overall experiences and includes 85 officially ranked brands in six market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from approximately 44,890 guests who stayed at a hotel between June 2018 and May 2019.
Better Sleep, Higher Satisfaction
Overall satisfaction scores increase 114 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when hotel guests experience a better-than-expected quality of sleep. However, just 29 percent of hotel guests reported having such an experience. Of guests who did experience better-than-expected quality of sleep, 78 percent said they “definitely will” return to that property and 71 percent said they “definitely will” return to that brand.
The top contributors to quality of sleep and, therefore, higher satisfaction scores, are the comfort of the bed; the quietness of the room; the comfort and quality of the pillows; room temperature; and the comfort and quality of the linens. Satisfaction scores for quality of sleep are also higher when hotels offer beyond-the-basics items, such as white noise and sound machines, earplugs, robes and slippers, and authentic local decor.
Quality of sleep directly correlated to the price of the room. The highest rate of better-than-expected sleep quality is in the luxury hotel segment (42 percent), followed by the upper-upscale (33 percent), upscale (31 percent), upper midscale (28 percent), midscale (28 percent), and economy (23 percent) segments.
Arrival and Check-In
Arrival and check-in experiences present another opportunity for hotels to shine. The key elements of the check-in experience consistent with high hotel guest satisfaction scores are efficiency (ideally takes five minutes or less); accuracy; and offering a warm welcome. When any of those baseline criteria are not met, satisfaction scores tumble as much as 100 points.
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
The Ritz-Carlton (for a fifth consecutive year)
Hard Rock Hotel
Best Western Premier
Drury Hotels (for a 14th consecutive year)
Wingate by Wyndham (for a fifth consecutive year)
Microtel by Wyndham (for a second consecutive year)